Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Japan Estimates $17 Bln Losses Due to New Year Quake

Fri 26 Jan 2024 | 02:44 PM
Israa Farhan

Japan has assessed the cost of the damages caused by a powerful earthquake that struck central Japan on January 1st, claiming the lives of over 230 people.

The estimated financial impact ranges from €6.9 to €16.2 billion (approximately $7.5 to $17.4 billion).

This evaluation includes the damages inflicted on buildings and infrastructure (roads, airports, networks) in the hardest-hit Ishikawa prefecture, as well as the adjacent Toyama and Niigata prefectures.

The figures remain subject to variation as damage assessment is ongoing, with an official stating, "We are still in the process of evaluating the damages." This report was presented during a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The official estimate surpasses initial partial calculations of private-sector damage, which ranged from ¥1.1 trillion to ¥2.6 trillion at the start of January.

However, it is expected that the total cost of this earthquake will be significantly lower than the devastating earthquake accompanied by a tsunami that struck northeastern Japan in 2011.

The Japanese government estimated losses of around ¥16.9 trillion at the time, equivalent to approximately €147 billion.

This assessment does not take into account the disruptions to economic activity or the Fukushima nuclear incident triggered by the tsunami, which incurred costs (due to environmental pollution cleanup, decommissioning the plant over several decades, compensating evacuees, etc.) that could ultimately reach hundreds of billions of euros.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government finalized immediate measures on Thursday to improve living conditions for those evacuated after the January 1st earthquake, rebuild affected areas, and revitalize tourism in the region.

Japan experiences hundreds of earthquakes each year, although most do not cause significant damage thanks to stringent building regulations implemented for decades.

However, many old buildings, particularly in rural areas like the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, the epicenter of the January 1st earthquake, remain vulnerable.

The Japanese government's assessment of the financial losses resulting from the recent earthquake underscores the significant economic impact of natural disasters.

While the estimated losses are substantial, they are expected to be considerably less than the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami.